Published on Jan 11, 2020

Panda Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

The Giant Panda is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Scientists do not know why these unusual bears are black and white, some speculate that the bold coloring provides effective camouflage into their shade-dappled snowy and rocky surroundings. Their thick, woolly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat.

The Giant Panda was thought to be a member of the Procyonidae however, it actually belongs to the order Carnivora.

Carnivora is the scientific word for carnivore however, the Giant Panda has a diet which is 99% bamboo. Giant Pandas have large molar teeth and strong jaw muscles for crushing tough bamboo. There is twenty-five species of bamboo that is eaten by Giant Pandas in the wild, such as Fargesia dracocephala and Fargesia rufa. There is only a few bamboo species that are widespread in the high altitudes Giant Pandas now inhabit. Bamboo leaves contain the higher protein levels then stems. They may eat other foods such as honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges and bananas, if available.


There are only a few mountain ranges where Pandas can live, all in central China namely Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. Pandas once lived in lowland areas. The Pandas have been pushed out of its habitat to higher altitude and limited available space. The timber profit gained from harvesting bamboo has destroyed a significant portion of the food supply for the Giant Panda. The population of wild Giant Pandas decreased by 50 percent from 1973 to 1984 in six areas of China. Giant Pandas can usually live to be 20-30 years old in captivity.

The Panda is an endangered species continued as a result habitat loss and a very low birthrate, both in the wild and in captivity. China has only 239 in captivity (128 of them in Wolong and 67 in Chengdu NNR) plus another 27 pandas living outside the country. It is estimated that around 1,590 Giant Pandas are living in the wild. However, a 2006 study via DNA analysis estimated that there might be as many as 2,000-3,000 Giant Pandas in the wild.

Scientists use to think Giant Pandas spent most of their lives alone, with males and females meeting only during the breeding season. Recent studies show small groups of pandas share a large territory and sometimes meet outside the breeding season.

The Giant Panda is a subtropical mammal. However, unlike most bear, the Giant Panda does not hibernate.

Adult Giant Pandas measure around 5ft long and around 2.5 feet tall at the shoulder, males are 1/5 larger than females, Males can weigh up to 115 kg or 253 pounds. The Giant Panda has the longest tail in the bear family; it being 4-6 inches long.

Pandas and other wild animals are deceiving as babies; many people find these chunky, lumbering animals to be cute, but Giant Pandas are just as dangerous as any other bear.

Unlike many other animals in ancient China, pandas were rarely thought to have medical uses. In the past, pandas were thought to be rare and noble creatures; the mother of Emperor Wen of Han was buried with a panda skull in her vault. Emperor Taizong of Tang is said to have given Japan two pandas and a sheet of panda skin as a sign of goodwill.

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